90 Miles From Tyranny : Is Donald Trump Today’s ‘Citizen Kane’? ‘Citizen Trump’ Film Suggests Yes

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Is Donald Trump Today’s ‘Citizen Kane’? ‘Citizen Trump’ Film Suggests Yes

Through the lens of the 1941 classic 'Citizen Kane,' a documentary filmmaker seeks to understand the life journey of President Trump and his successful venture into politics.

In a culture that follows President Donald Trump’s every move, word, and tweet, few of even his core supporters could name the film he considers most significant. Repeatedly, in separate interviews over the decades, the now-leader of the free world has named 1941 cinematic masterpiece “Citizen Kane” as his favorite movie.

Several observers have noted parallels between Trump’s public persona and the fictional plot: A man of great charisma rises from obscurity into wealth and power, first through popular media, then as a political candidate. Back in 2002, Trump commented on the classic film’s message. “I think you learn in ‘Kane’ that maybe wealth isn’t everything,” he said. “Because he had the wealth, but he didn’t have the happiness.”

On Sept. 7, filmmaker Robert Orlando releases “Citizen Trump,” a feature-length documentary that examines the life and rise of the man who today dominates national politics. “Since my years in film school, I’ve been trained to see nuances in this drama,” said Orlando in a phone interview. “Watching ‘Citizen Kane’ again this spring during the lockdown, it struck me how much the sequencing of this narrative matched up with the rise of Donald Trump.”

Several movies with a political bent have come out recently or are set to be released soon. “Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” intends to rev up the leftist base, while “Trump 2024” and Dinesh D’souza’s “Trump Card” make the case for a second term. By contrast, Orlando’s previous films “The Divine Plan,” about Ronald Reagan’s partnership with Pope John Paul II, and “Silence Patton,” on the legendary World War II general, have sought to present well-rounded stories of ...

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